Does a language shape your Personality?

Hey guys!

I was watching a video the other day from Luca Lampariello and David Mansaray where they describe how different languages change our personality in certain ways. It’s really cool when Luca starts expressing different body language while speaking like 6 different languages!!

Here’s the video if you’re curious: How language shapes personality - YouTube

I was wondering if this happens with you guys? For me personally, I can relate with Luca and when I speak Spanish I feel more alive and extroverted. Let me know how does it work for you :slight_smile:



“People’s clothes are often an expression of their personality.”(OALD)
As just choosing your clothes reflects your personality, speaking a foreign language intentionally shows some aspects of your personality. As far as I am concerned, I enjoy myself very much when I am using the English language, which is not my native language.

It is not easy to test whether people who speak a language have their own personality characteristics in common. Therefore, it is also difficult to ask whether a language changes your personality or not.

Good point Yutaka.

But don’t you think our personality is defined by our constant actions (or inactions)?

If by speaking another language, by all means we act in a different way, then our personality will eventually mold itself to a new way of being and doing things.

I wouldn’t say my personality changes when I speak French, it’s more my mannerisms. My face does some weird stuff, too.


Back in the 50s, Goffman demonstrated that people, rather than having core personalities, often adopt different performance strategies in different settings (see The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life).

Recently, there’s been a flood of studies and articles of multilinguals having multiple personalities - Multilinguals Have Multiple Personalities | The New Republic


Personality not, mannerisms yes! (Written in a teutonic way)

1 Like

I wonder if adopting “different performance strategies in different settings” is carried out intentionally. If it is intended, it shows some aspects of our personality.

Certain aspects of our personality might be freed by consciously adopting and applying other nation’s mannerisms, but will they change us permanently?

EDITED: Written before I saw @iaing’s post. Now donning my acadmic hat in order to read the article in question.

1 Like

I think that learned mannerisms and ways of thinking in various languages might accentuate certain sides of your personality, but to say that your personality actually changes or is actually shaped by new languages is perhaps a bit misleading.

“when I speak Spanish I feel more alive and extroverted”

Maybe you’re just confident in your abilities and excited to be speaking the language, because it doesn’t really make sense that Spanish would give you the “power of extrovertedness”.
It would be cool if you could unlock personality traits by learning languages, though. Guess I’d have to be fairly punctual by now. I wonder what power Swedish would give me…^^

For what ever reason, different nationalities are generalised under personality adjectives (Spanish- extroverted, Japanese-introverted etc) that probably influences our perceptions of the people and ultimately our mimicry of them. For example if you spend a lot of time concentrating on your perception of a Spanish speaking person, you will start to mimic your perception of that person in your mind and ultimately if/when you speak the language.

I think there are “mirror neurons” in the brain which (sub)consciously mimic what you happen to be paying attention to.

Captcha: 1ST time


When we learn a language, we learn to imitate the linguistic behaviour of people of another culture. It seems obvious to me that this imitation will extend to gestures and other observable aspects of people of that culture. I don’t think our core personality changes.


On further reflection, I think that our exposure to another, or other cultures, is much deeper when we learn the language. All exposure to other cultures, affects how we think, affects our view of the world. Thus learning another language will affect our mentality, our attitudes, and possible our personality as well, not only when we speak that particular language, but in general.

I suppose that Steve’s statement means that polyglots are more open-minded.

Not necessarily, Yutaka. We may acquire some popular prejudices of another culture. Open to different cultures, perhaps, but not open-minded in the general sense. Unilingual people may be very open minded on some issues.

1 Like

I´d say that Language learning itself has shaped my personality much more than the languages I´ve learned. To give just one example, I used to be pretty introverted, but language learning motivated me to talk to strangers who speak my target languages and some of my “introvertedness” disappeared because of that.


Is it possible to speak Italian without using your hands? :wink:


How do you stop an Italian man from speaking?
Tie his hands behind his back!


mamma mia!